Title: Green Hell
Developer: Creepy Jar
Publisher: Creepy Jar
Platforms: Xbox One, PS4 (reviewed on), PC
Release Date: June 9, 2021
I remember seeing trailers for Green Hell and being REALLY excited for it, only to discover that it was only for PC. Being that I would have to run the game on a potato, the disappointment was palpable. Apparently, Creepy Jar heard the outcry and decided to release it for PS4 and Xbox One and I tell you, I was so ready. In the past, I have sucked supremely at survival games but this time I was preparing. I watched multiple seasons of Naked and Afraid and I felt primed and ready to survive in the jungle. Turns out…I still suck at survival games.
Green Hell is a first-person survival game where you play as anthropologist Jake Higgins. You and your wife, Mia, are in the deep parts of the Amazon rainforest. There is an uncontacted tribe in the jungle and Mia hopes to communicate with them. One morning, she leaves to head to the tribe and leaves your birthday gift (a fancy ass watch) on the table. After a few days, you get a walkie call from her in the middle of the night needing your help. You jump into action but see some weird stuff and end up accidentally taking a fall that takes away the memories of how you got lost in the middle of the jungle. Thankfully, you still have your handy-dandy walkie which is your only communication with Mia.
After finding a half burned map in an abandoned village, you must utilize your map and your watch to find objectives and monitor your health, hunger and thirst. There are many dangers in the jungle including dangerous animals, poisonous plants and your own madness. It only makes sense that the best course of action would be to get high…right? Your first goal is to make some ayahuasca to remember what happened. I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t seem the best choice but hey, what do I know…OBVIOUSLY.
As you make your way across the map, you will learn how to craft shelters and fires, cook food and make weapons to keep yourself alive and piece together your memories as your surroundings work to chip away at your mind. If you fall too far into madness, voices will begin to haunt you until you meet your end.
I can’t tell you how many times I played day one over and over and over and over and over again. I became a master ayahuasca brewer, I can tell you that but still struggled to make a shelter good enough to save the damn game. The save system SUCKS and I hate it. I wish there was a manual save option or at the very least an event checkpoint. In my longest run, I survived three days and completed two quests, but because it required a CERTAIN TYPE OF SHELTER TO SAVE, when I died, I had to start all over again. I hope you can read my level of frustration here. Am I terrible at this game? Absolutely, 100% but there just has to be a better way.
All that being said, I kept coming back. Of all the survival games that I have played and rage quit, this one was the most fun. No matter how many times I died, I still would be excited to try something new and that is a foreign feeling for me when it comes to survival games like this. Green Hell has some really spooky elements to it which helps motivate you to unlock more of the story. It’s not a horror game in my opinion at all, but the spookiness creates a more layered environment.
The graphics are pretty good and they do have an indie look about them, but it worked well with the gameplay. The lighting effects left something to be desired as one step forward was darkness while one step back blinded me with the wrath of the rising sun on more than one occasion.
The voice acting was nothing spectacular but I have definitely heard worse and it never took away from the experience. I had multiple issues with dropped frames and loading delays but I can’t say that I am too surprised considering this was created for the PC and I am playing on a PS4.
In regards to the story, you will either really like it or be super indifferent. In my opinion, the story is second to the survival aspect (the story is super weird anyway). I had more fun just exploring the map and jotting more survival techniques into my notebook. Granted, I still died every time in increasingly stupid ways and my survival skills are near zero, but the frustration never overshadowed the fun and that is the impressive part.
If this game sounds interesting to you, then there’s good news! More Green Hell was added in a new part called Spirits of Amazonia, so if you were able to make it through this game (aren’t you just the Video Game Boy), there is more adventuring to do. As for me, it’s going to take the rest of my natural life to actually survive this game without a rash or a leech stuck in a strange place. If I have learned anything from Green Hell it is that I could build an actual shelter quicker in read life than I could in this game. Also, if video games have taught me anything, it’s to stay away from women named Mia. Apparently nothing good comes from having one in your life. Just ask Jake or Ethan Winters.